Williams v. Holbrook

Citation103 N.E. 633,216 Mass. 239
Decision Date15 December 1913
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

216 Mass. 239
103 N.E. 633


Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Essex.

Dec. 15, 1913.

Exceptions from Superior Court, Essex County; Nathan D. Pratt, Judge.

Action by Alvin R. Williams, as administrator, etc., against Edwin W. Holbrook. Verdict for plaintiff, and defendant brings exceptions. Sustained.

[216 Mass. 242]D. W. Quill, of Salem, and Sweeney & Cox, of Lawrence, for plaintiff.

Edward F. McClennen, J. J. Kaplan, and Brandeis, Dunbar & Nutter, all of Boston, for defendant.

[216 Mass. 240]BRALEY, J.

[1] The decedent, a boy about five years of age, was standing on the sidewalk near the entrance to a shoe store whither he had gone accompanied by his mother, when an automobile operated by the defendant suddenly left the roadway and running with great force upon the sidewalk struck and forced him against the building, causing injuries from which he died after a period of conscious suffering. It appears, from the evidence, that the car was being driven over the portion of the street in which the tracks of a street railway were located, and at the time of the accident water was running in the track, while the surface of the street in the vicinity was wet and slippery. The jury could find that as the defendant, without slackening but with increased speed, turned to get off the wet track, the car skidded on the rails, and passed upon the sidewalk. The type of car, and the testimony of the expert called by the plaintiff, warranted a further finding that by reason of their diameter the tires adhered tenaciously to the groove of the track, and if an attempt were made to turn out, the tendency of the car, even with a dry track, would be to twist around and run onto the sidewalk, while with a wet rail the tendency to move laterally, and of the rear wheels to cling to the track, would be greatly increased. A verdict could not have been ordered for the defendant as he [216 Mass. 241]requested. The jury properly were permitted to pass upon the question whether from his experience as shown by his testimony the defendant's conduct in the operation of the car in running in the groove of the track, and in applying increased power when trying to turn therefrom, was that of the ordinarily prudent driver acting under like conditions. Brown v. Thayer, 212 Mass. 392, 99 N. E. 237, and cases cited.

[2][3] The plaintiff's expert, having testified in cross-examination that from his experience in the same street after skidding began it could not be stopped, was...

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